So I don't know why I feel this way, because they're pretty similar issues, but somehow I feel #2 is a lot better than #1. Part of it may be the art--Charlebois' pencils are slightly better than #1 (not that #1 was bad, but she seems to have really hit her groove here as the art is top-notch all the way through) and the shading is phenomenal, especially when Hunter and co. capture Yama. Part of it is probably just the plot, though, because it seems way more on-topic and relevant to the series than most of #1 did.
Speaking of the art, I'm really digging the decision to do BAD GUYS in black and white. I'm sure it was mostly a financial decision, but I think the atmosphere it brings is more appropriate to the subject matter than a colored comic would be.
Things I really liked:
-Fang's face in the first panel of page 3. It's easy to forget that he used to be a normal guy and is not used to putting his life in danger at regular intervals. He looks scared, which I think gives a little insight into the character. Then him running away gives even more, but you know. It's the little things.
-The whole Yama/Sora scene. That tugs at the heartstrings. And it's so telling when Sora says "Ask me to go with you" and Yama says "Bushido demands that I do not." He WANTS to ask her so badly; he doesn't say so, but the evasiveness of his answer gives him away. And yet he loves her too much to do that to her. And she loves him enough to know that she has to let him go it alone, or that'll be something else that'll eat at his heart. Poor them. (Also, props to Charlebois' art in that panel--Yama's face is just tortured.) I wonder how newly mated they are in this scene--I don't know why, but something about them screams new relationship to me. Anyways.
-I also love the characterization of Kai here. Stern, not really angry, just disappointed. Perfectly right.
-It'll be interesting to see how Matrix develops. One problem that a lot of superhero comics run into is that they become illogical because when you give someone near-omnipotence, it becomes hard to envision a storyline where in real life they wouldn't be able to solve it with a snap of the fingers. So I wonder both about the limits of Matrix's powers and how Greg will explore them, the types of situations Matrix will be put in that he can't just overpower.
-Was Yama a vigilante a la the Manhattan Clan between his banishment and recruitment? Boy loves his toys, that's for sure.
-Hunter's too funny. "Want something done right..." I'm thinking she doesn't so much think too highly of Dingo's skills. She's such a bitch sometimes...by which I mean 99% of the time, obvi. I wonder how much of her "Gargoyle knowledge" is educated guesswork. She sure seems to have a lot of knowledge of bushido, though. Also, I love that even when Yama has his sword on her throat she's got a gun aimed between his eyes. Now that is a kickass, take-no-prisoners, strong woman.
-I love Yama's snark re: the accent. But I also read him as very hopeless, not caring all that much what happens to him. Think he's a little depressed? And it just gets worse. And poor Yama, man. He looks so crestfallen when he realizes he's being coerced; I feel for the dude. His big chance at redemption, to get back with his clan...and it won't really redeem him. And yet he still has to go through with it.
-People have asked why the stick if the carrot would be enough, but think about it. You really need that stick to ensure that Yama will work for you as long as YOU want him to. Otherwise, after the first mission he could be all "peace out boy scouts, I've redeemed myself." (Not that that's likely, but the point remains.) This way, he knows he's gotta stay with the Redemption Squad as long as THEY demand, and he's got to toe the line. Or else. It's the only way to REALLY be sure that he'll do what he's told, when he's told.
-Hunter's a smart leader. I think she feels more of a kinship to Yama than Dingo, which accounts for part of it, but she handles them very differently and it's very appropriate to each character. (She handled Dingo and Matrix well, too, come to think of it.) I wonder if, between her and her siblings, Jason liked to think he was in charge, and Jon liked to think he was doing, well, something productive, but it was really Robyn who actually got shit done.
-Yama's so cute, too, all little-kid "I've never left Japan, where are we going?" It's endearing.
-Oooh, feel that UST between Hunter and Dingo.
-I like the blur effect on NYC, and guess who's lurking around in the Labyrinth? (Poor Labyrinth. That's two enemy intrusions in what, the space of a week?)
-Sevarius is such a little sleaze. I'm sure he used Fred just to pick at Fang.
Overall, I can see why Greg said this LS is a slow boil; it's not all the way there yet, but it's definitely heating up.